Watch traditional falconry displays or trawl modern malls on the oil-rich Gulf island of Bahrain. You'll be fascinated by Bahrain's rich cultural heritage from the narrow streets of Manama's souk bazaar to Bronze Age excavations and Portuguese forts. Take a camel ride through the desert, stopping for a rest under the shady iconic Tree of Life.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, an archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, has an area of just 275 square miles but enjoys 100 miles of coastline. Although not as strict as nearby Saudi Arabia, Bahrain remains a Muslim country so remember to dress conservatively. Starting in the north of Bahrain, the airport is on Muharraq Island next to Manama, Bahrain's capital city. Visit Manama for Portuguese architecture, mosques and ancient excavation sites. Then head south to the Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary and Bahrain's highest point, Jabal ad Dukhan, before jumping aboard a traditional Arab dhow sailing boat to the Hawar Islands.
Manama is Bahrain's bustling capital where you can haggle for gold in the souk market near Bab al-Bahrain city gate or buy fashion and electronics in modern shopping malls. Take a sunset stroll along the waterfront promenade or visit white domed Al-Fateh Mosque, Bahrain's largest. Inside the Bait al Quran museum you'll find beautiful displays of calligraphy. Explore the excavations next to the Portuguese fort at UNESCO-listed Qalat al-Bahrain and in the Saar district. Or learn about Bahrain's centuries of history at the National Museum.
Heading south, make time to see the A'ali Royal Tombs and Burial Mounds between Isa and Riffa. Visit the traditional colonnaded Bahraini house in Al-Jasra where the ruling Amir was born. Then climb Bahrain's highest peak, the mist-circled 400-foot-high Jabal al-Dukhan. Meditate under the isolated 400-year-old Tree of Life or see Arabian Onyx at the Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary. Ride a camel, fly a falcon or just get away from it all with a trip around the Hawar Islands on a traditional dhow boat.
One of the busiest airports in the Middle East, Bahrain International Airport flies almost nine million passengers a year from its one hectic terminal. The 8km taxi ride to the centre of the island's capital Manama takes 15 minutes.